Abbey's teacher Mrs. Errico seems very organized, and that is such a blessing. When I walked Abbey to class that first day, she was right there meeting each student and helping them feel comfortable. She asked me a few questions about who would be picking Abbey up and other procedures. She even wrote down my answers. I really appreciated that. Dropping your child off on her first day of school gets a little more emotional and worrisome when you do it in a foreign country.
Abbey quickly found her name card at her table and sat down. Her name was printed on one side of the name card and then written in cursive on the other. It made me remember the joys of third grade, especially being able to learn how to write in cursive. I've never been an artist, but handwriting has always been my thing. Abbey, on the other hand, is not looking forward to that part. I guess she leans more towards her dad in that way. He had to take remedial handwriting during recess and still talks about that scarring experience.
With the start of another school year, as always, I have been feeling a little melancholy about my baby growing up. It is always a time for moms to mark the passing of time and long for the less complex baby days with warm snuggles and rocking chair closeness.
Abigail further illustrated her race to grow up later in the week when we were driving home from the store. I was singing one of my favorite songs "You Are My Sunshine" to her to help keep my sanity as we dodged the random crazed Land Cruiser on the roads of Doha. This song has always been my Abbey song, and I have often changed the words while singing it, putting in lines like, "You are my Abbey, and you're a sweetheart. I love you more than you can know . . . " I know, very silly, but one of my favorite things to do with my children and grandchildren.
So after I finished singing, I was basking in my great mothering practices that build up my daughter's self-esteem, and went and asked a dangerous question. "So do you like it when I sing to you like that and make up words about you for the song?" Without hesitating, Abbey said in a matter of fact tone, "Yes, but don't ever do it in front of my friends." That kind of stunned me and I got pretty quiet as I thought about how early this was for her to already be embarrassed by her mom. (It also made me think of an old movie with Barbara Stanwyck titled Stella Dallas. Check it out if you haven't seen it.) Just as I was about to get my feelings hurt, Abbey piped up in the back again and said, "If your feelings are hurt, you are the one who asked." She was right, so I had no one to blame but myself for now knowing that my baby no longer looked at me with blind admiration. Sad, I know.